Mani Lettenbichler takin’ the two-stroke KTM back into SuperEnduro
Enduro21 catches five with Mani Lettenbichler to talk about why he’s jumped from a KTM 350 EXC-F back onto his familiar hard enduro weapon, the 300 EXC two-stroke in SuperEnduro.
Mani Lettenbichler wasn’t quite gelling with his Red Bull KTM 350 EXC-F in the 2024 SuperEnduro World Championship. Two rounds in and he hadn’t even stood on the podium and clearly didn’t look comfortable trying to match Billy Bolt, Jonny Walker and the boys at the sharp-end.
But at round three in his home country Germany, Lettenbichler was back on the 2T EXC looking sharper and went home with a podium.
Though he admits there’s more work to do, the move onto the more agile, two-smoker seems to have put Mani back in his comfort zone to push. Ahead of this weekend’s fourth SuperEnduro round in Romania, we took five with Lettenbichler to find out what was up with the three-fiddy and why the change…
Mani Lettenbichler: “It was a funny one but I felt like I was riding well on the 350 when we were testing,” explains Mani, “riding alongside the boys training is one thing but then you come into the arenas and the race tracks are definitely tighter, there’s a little bit more carnage going on with 14 people on the track.
“Compared to riding on the test track with some mates, where you are riding against yourself really, you don’t really find the same conditions and intensity. You don’t have to overtake anyone or change lines so much, it’s not the same.”
“So I said, OK, I want to get closer to the boys out front, I don’t know how I can do it but I said maybe we can just jump on the bike that I’m used to, adapt it, and see if it works better.
“I think it was definitely a pretty decent change to jump from the 350 four-stroke to the two-stroke, but I felt pretty good straight away and it’s that simple. There’s nothing wrong with the 350 I was just needing to try to find the extra comfort on the bike to get closer to the boys.”
What changes did they make to the hard enduro KTM 300 EXC, which Mani was utterly dominant upon all of last HEWC season, work indoors?
“Basically we made some changes to the suspension and worked a little bit on the power, trying to get there the engine a bit more snappier and not too much torque from the bottom.
“Really it’s nothing major, just moving things a little to make it work in these conditions.
Hopefully we’re going in the right direction and we didn’t even have to change too much because I was quite happy just getting back on the 300. The suspension is probably the biggest part of what we all we had to adapt.”
Round four of the 2024 SuperEnduro World Championship takes place this weekend in Cluj, Romania.
Photo Credit: Future7Media | Nicki Martinez